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Monty Python and the Holy Grail Reviews

A zany, hysterically funny, and sometimes brilliant if sometimes sophomoric send-up of every medieval movie ever made, brought to you by the wacky six-member cast of BBC-television's "Monty Python's Flying Circus." Superior to their first film, AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (which was only a series of their televison vignettes released for the theaters), HOLY GRAIL is told in a straight (well all right, fairly straight) narrative structure that follows King Arthur (Chapman) and his knights in their search for the legendary Holy Grail. What transpires in the next 90 minutes is nearly impossible to describe to those unfamiliar with the lunacy of the Python bunch (the six male actors play nearly all the parts, including women's roles), but some of the highlights are well worth mentioning (this film must be seen to be understood). Due to the lack of horses in the kingdom (and a low budget), Chapman and his knights are followed throughout the movie by their servants, who smack two coconuts together to simulate the sound of hoofbeats. One of Chapman's first battles is against the Black Knight (Cleese), who refuses to let the king pass. A reluctant Chapman is then forced to cut the man limb from limb until all that is left of Cleese is a torso that yells at the King to come back and fight like a man. Meanwhile, Sir Lancelot (once again Cleese) rushes into a castle and hacks up several wedding guests in a bloody frenzy in an attempt to rescue an effeminate prince who really doesn't need to be rescued. After Cleese calms down and surveys the carnage, he manages a feeble, "I just get carried away" as an apology. Of course, every fan of this film has his favorite moment (the Trojan Rabbit, the Knights Who Say "Ni", Robin and his Minstrels, the killer rabbit, the Holy Hand Grenade and the crazed bridgekeeper). But, all the insanity finally leads to a climactic battle scene populated with hundreds of costumed extras, which is stopped before it really gets started by a few carloads of policemen who interrupt the shooting and grab the camera. Not only is HOLY GRAIL a strange, occasionally sidesplitting film, but it paints a grubby, muddy, and vile portrait of life in the middle ages. The set design and visual style are detailed and rich, lending such credence to the film that at the end, when modern-day police arrive to break things up, it is a real shock. A must see.